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Olympus Stylus 1 vs Pentax MX-1

The Olympus Stylus 1 and the Pentax MX-1 are two digital cameras that were announced, respectively, in October 2013 and January 2013. Both the Stylus 1 and the MX-1 are fixed lens compact cameras that are equipped with a 1/1.7-inch sensor. The Olympus has a resolution of 11.8 megapixels, whereas the Pentax provides 12 MP.

Below is an overview of the main specs of the two cameras as a starting point for the comparison.

Headline Specifications
Olympus Stylus 1 versus Pentax MX-1
Olympus Stylus 1 Pentax MX-1
Fixed lens compact camera Fixed lens compact camera
28-300mm f/2.8 28-112mm f/1.8-2.5
11.8 MP, 1/1.7" Sensor 12 MP, 1/1.7" Sensor
1080/30p Video 1080/30p Video
ISO 100-12,800 ISO 100-12,800
Electronic viewfinder (1440k dots) No viewfinder, LCD framing
3.0 LCD, 1040k dots 3.0 LCD, 920k dots
Tilting touchscreen Tilting screen (not touch-sensitive)
7 shutter flaps per second 1 shutter flaps per second
Lens-based stabilizationIn-body stabilization
410 shots per battery charge290 shots per battery charge
116 x 87 x 57 mm, 402 g 122 x 61 x 51 mm, 391 g

Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Olympus Stylus 1 and the Pentax MX-1? Which one should you buy? Read on to find out how these two cameras compare with respect to their body size, their imaging sensors, their shooting features, their input-output connections, and their reception by expert reviewers.

Body comparison

The physical size and weight of the Olympus Stylus 1 and the Pentax MX-1 are illustrated in the side-by-side display below. The two cameras are presented according to their relative size. Three consecutive perspectives from the front, the top, and the back are available. All width, height and depth measures are rounded to the nearest millimeter.

Size Olympus Stylus 1 vs Pentax MX-1
Compare Stylus 1 versus MX-1 top
Comparison Stylus 1 or MX-1 rear

If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Pentax MX-1 is notably smaller (26 percent) than the Olympus Stylus 1. Moreover, the MX-1 is slightly lighter (3 percent) than the Stylus 1. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the Stylus 1 nor the MX-1 are weather-sealed.

The table below summarizes the key physical specs of the two cameras alongside a broader set of comparators. If you would like to visualize and compare a different camera combination, you can navigate to the CAM-parator app and make your selection from a broad list of cameras there.

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Body Specifications
    Camera
Model
Camera
Width
Camera
Height
Camera
Depth
Camera
Weight
Battery
Life
Weather
Sealing
Camera
Launch
Launch
Price (USD)
Street
Price
1.
 
Olympus Stylus 1 116 mm 87 mm 57 mm 402 g 410 n Oct 2013 699i
2.
 
Pentax MX-1 122 mm 61 mm 51 mm 391 g 290 n Jan 2013 499i
3.
 
Canon G1 X Mark II 116 mm 74 mm 66 mm 553 g 240 n Feb 2014 799i
4.
 
Canon G16 109 mm 76 mm 40 mm 356 g 360 n Aug 2013 549 i
5.
 
Canon G1 X 117 mm 81 mm 65 mm 534 g 250 n Jan 2012 799i
6.
 
Canon G15 107 mm 76 mm 40 mm 352 g 350 n Sep 2012 499i
7.
 
Fujifilm X30 119 mm 72 mm 60 mm 423 g 470 n Aug 2014 599 i
8.
 
Fujifilm X20 117 mm 70 mm 57 mm 353 g 270 n Jan 2013 599i
9.
 
Nikon P7800 119 mm 78 mm 50 mm 399 g 350 n Sep 2013 549i
10.
 
Olympus Stylus 1s 116 mm 87 mm 57 mm 402 g 450 n Apr 2015 699 i
11.
 
Olympus XZ-2 113 mm 65 mm 48 mm 346 g 340 n Sep 2012 599i
12.
 
Panasonic LF1 103 mm 62 mm 28 mm 192 g 250 n Apr 2013 499 i
Notes: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as add-on or interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.

Any camera decision will obviously take relative prices into account. The retail prices at the time of the camera’s release place the model in the market relative to other models in the producer’s line-up and the competition. The MX-1 was launched at a markedly lower price (by 29 percent) than the Stylus 1, which puts it into a different market segment. Usually, retail prices stay at first close to the launch price, but after several months, discounts become available. Later in the product cycle and, in particular, when the replacement model is about to appear, further discounting and stock clearance sales often push the camera price considerably down. Then, after the new model is out, very good deals can frequently be found on the pre-owned market.

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Sensor comparison

The size of the imaging sensor is a crucial determinant of image quality. A large sensor will tend to have larger individual pixels that provide better low-light sensitivity, wider dynamic range, and richer color-depth than smaller pixel-units in a sensor of the same technological generation. Moreover, a large sensor camera will give the photographer more control over depth-of-field in the image and, thus, the ability to better isolate a subject from the background. On the downside, larger sensors tend to be more expensive and lead to bigger and heavier cameras and lenses.

Both cameras under consideration feature a 1/1.7-inch sensor and have a format factor (sometimes also referred to as "crop factor") of 4.5. Within the spectrum of camera sensors, this places the review cameras among the smaller-sensor digicams that favor affordability and compact design. Both cameras feature a native aspect ratio (sensor width to sensor height) of 4:3.

Olympus Stylus 1 and Pentax MX-1 sensor measures

While the two cameras under review share the same sensor size, the MX-1 offers a slightly higher resolution of 12 megapixels, compared with 11.8 MP of the Stylus 1. This megapixels advantage translates into a 0.8 percent gain in linear resolution. On the other hand, these sensor specs imply that the MX-1 has a higher pixel density and a smaller size of the individual pixel (with a pixel pitch of 1.89μm versus 1.91μm for the Stylus 1). Moreover, it should be noted, that the Stylus 1 is a somewhat more recent model (by 9 months) than the MX-1, and its sensor might have benefitted from technological advances during this time that further enhance the light gathering capacity of individual pixels. Coming back to sensor resolution, it should be mentioned that the Stylus 1 has no anti-alias filter installed, so that it can capture all the detail its sensor resolves.

The Olympus Stylus 1 has a native sensitivity range from ISO 100 to ISO 12800. The Pentax MX-1 offers exactly the same ISO settings.

Stylus 1 versus MX-1 MP

For many cameras, data on sensor performance has been reported by DXO Mark. This service is based on lab testing and assigns an overall score to each camera sensor, as well as ratings for dynamic range ("DXO Landscape"), color depth ("DXO Portrait"), and low-light sensitivity ("DXO Sports"). The Overall DXO ratings for the two cameras under consideration are close, suggesting that they provide similar imaging performance. The table below summarizes the physical sensor characteristics and sensor quality findings and compares them across a set of similar cameras.

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Sensor Characteristics
    Camera
Model
Sensor
Class
Resolution
(MP)
Horiz.
Pixels
Vert.
Pixels
Video
Format
DXO
Portrait
DXO
Landscape
DXO
Sports
DXO
Overall
1.
 
Olympus Stylus 1 1/1.7 11.8 3968 29761080/30p20.711.617951
2.
 
Pentax MX-1 1/1.7 12.0 4000 30001080/30p20.411.320849
3.
 
Canon G1 X Mark II 1.5-inch 13.0 4160 31201080/30p21.510.858158
4.
 
Canon G16 1/1.7 12.0 4000 30001080/60p21.011.723054
5.
 
Canon G1 X 1.5-inch 14.2 4352 32641080/24p21.710.864460
6.
 
Canon G15 1/1.7 12.0 4000 30001080/24p19.911.516546
7.
 
Fujifilm X30 2/3 12.0 4000 30001080/60p........
8.
 
Fujifilm X20 2/3 12.0 4000 30001080/60p........
9.
 
Nikon P7800 1/1.7 12.0 4000 30001080/30p21.211.720054
10.
 
Olympus Stylus 1s 1/1.7 11.8 3968 29761080/30p........
11.
 
Olympus XZ-2 1/1.7 11.8 3968 29761080/30p20.411.321649
12.
 
Panasonic LF1 1/1.7 12.0 4000 30001080/60i20.811.621152

Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but can also record movies. The two cameras under consideration both have sensors whose read-out speed is fast enough to capture moving pictures, and both provide the same movie specifications (1080/30p).

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Feature comparison

Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a variety of features. For example, the Stylus 1 has an electronic viewfinder (1440k dots), which can be very helpful when shooting in bright sunlight. In contrast, the MX-1 relies on live view and the rear LCD for framing. The table below summarizes some of the other core capabilities of the Olympus Stylus 1 and Pentax MX-1 in connection with corresponding information for a sample of similar cameras.

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Core Features
    Camera
Model
Viewfinder
(Type or
000 dots)
Control
Panel
(yes/no)
LCD
Size
(inch)
LCD
Resolution
(000 dots)
LCD
Attach-
ment
Touch
Screen
(yes/no)
Mech
Shutter
Speed
Shutter
Flaps
(1/sec)
Built-in
Flash
(yes/no)
Built-in
Image
Stab
1.
 
Olympus Stylus 11440 n 3.0 1040 tilting Y 1/2000s 7.0 Y Y
2.
 
Pentax MX-1none n 3.0 920 tilting n 1/8000s 1.0 Y Y
3.
 
Canon G1 X Mark IIoptional n 3.0 1040 tilting Y 1/4000s 5.2 Y Y
4.
 
Canon G16optical n 3.0 922 fixed n 1/4000s 2.2 Y Y
5.
 
Canon G1 Xoptical n 3.0 922 Swivel n 1/4000s 1.9 Y Y
6.
 
Canon G15optical n 3.0 922 fixed n 1/4000s 2.1 Y Y
7.
 
Fujifilm X302360 n 3.0 920 tilting n 1/4000s 12.0 Y Y
8.
 
Fujifilm X20optical n 2.8 460 fixed n 1/4000s 12.0 Y Y
9.
 
Nikon P7800921 n 3.0 921 swivel n 1/4000s 8.0 Y Y
10.
 
Olympus Stylus 1s1440 n 3.0 1040 tilting Y 1/2000s 7.0 Y Y
11.
 
Olympus XZ-2optional n 3.0 920 tilting Y 1/2000s 5.0 Y Y
12.
 
Panasonic LF1200 n 3.0 920 fixed n 1/4000s 10.0 Y Y

One differentiating feature between the two cameras concerns the touch sensitivity of the rear screen. The Stylus 1 has a touchscreen, while the MX-1 has a conventional panel. Touch control can be particularly helpful, for example, for setting the focus point.

The Olympus Stylus 1 has an intervalometer built-in. This enables the photographer to capture time lapse sequences, such as flower blooming, a sunset or moon rise, without purchasing an external camera trigger and related software.

Both the Stylus 1 and the MX-1 have zoom lenses built in. The Stylus 1 has a 28-300mm f/2.8-2.8 optic and the MX-1 offers a 28-112mm f/1.8-2.5 (focal lengths in full frame equivalent terms). Hence, the Olympus and Pentax provide the same view at the wide-angle end, but the Pentax has less tele-photo reach at the long end. The MX-1 offers the faster maximum aperture.

Concerning the storage of imaging data, both the Stylus 1 and the MX-1 write their files to SDXC cards.

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Connectivity comparison

For some imaging applications, the extent to which a camera can communicate with its environment can be an important aspect in the camera decision process. The table below provides an overview of the connectivity of the Olympus Stylus 1 and Pentax MX-1 and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.

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Input-Output Connections
    Camera
Model
Hotshoe
Port
Internal
Microphone
Internal
Speaker
Microphone
Port
Headphone
Port
HDMI
Port
USB
Port
WiFi
Support
NFC
Support
Bluetooth
Support
1.
 
Olympus Stylus 1Ystereomono--micro2.0Y--
2.
 
Pentax MX-1-stereomono--mini2.0---
3.
 
Canon G1 X Mark IIYstereomono--mini2.0YY-
4.
 
Canon G16Ystereomono--mini2.0Y--
5.
 
Canon G1 XYstereomono--mini2.0---
6.
 
Canon G15Ystereomono--mini2.0---
7.
 
Fujifilm X30Ystereomono--micro2.0Y--
8.
 
Fujifilm X20Ystereomono--micro2.0---
9.
 
Nikon P7800YstereomonoY-mini2.0---
10.
 
Olympus Stylus 1sYstereomono--micro2.0Y--
11.
 
Olympus XZ-2Ystereomono--mini2.0---
12.
 
Panasonic LF1-stereomono--mini2.0YY-

It is notable that the Stylus 1 has a hotshoe, while the MX-1 does not. This socket makes it possible to easily attach optional accessories, such as an external flash gun.

Both the Stylus 1 and the MX-1 have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The Stylus 1 was replaced by the Olympus Stylus 1s, while the MX-1 does not have a direct successor. Further information on the two cameras (e.g. user guides, manuals), as well as related accessories, can be found on the official Olympus and Pentax websites.

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Review summary

So what is the bottom line? Which of the two cameras – the Olympus Stylus 1 or the Pentax MX-1 – has the upper hand? Is one clearly better than the other? A synthesis of the relative strong points of each of the models is listed below.

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Reasons to prefer the Olympus Stylus 1:

  • Maximized detail: Lacks an anti-alias filter to exploit the sensor's full resolution potential.
  • Easier framing: Has an electronic viewfinder for image composition and settings control.
  • More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (1040k vs 920k dots).
  • Fewer buttons to press: Is equipped with a touch-sensitive rear screen to facilitate handling.
  • Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (7 vs 1 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
  • Easier time-lapse photography: Has an intervalometer built-in for low frequency shooting.
  • More tele-reach: Has a longer tele-lens for perspective compression and subject magnification.
  • Longer lasting: Can take more shots (410 versus 290) on a single battery charge.
  • Better lighting: Features a hotshoe and can thus hold and trigger an external flash gun.
  • Easier file upload: Has wifi built in for automatic backup or image transfer to the web.
  • More modern: Is somewhat more recent (announced 9 months after the MX-1).

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Advantages of the Pentax MX-1:

  • Better moiré control: Has an anti-alias filter to avoid artificial patterns to appear in images.
  • Faster shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (1/8000s vs 1/2000s) to freeze action.
  • Better light gathering: Has a lens with a wider maximum aperture (f/1.8 vs f/2.8).
  • More compact: Is smaller (122x61mm vs 116x87mm) and will fit more readily into a bag.
  • More affordable: Was introduced into a lower priced category (29 percent cheaper at launch).
  • More heavily discounted: Has been on the market for longer (launched in January 2013).

If the count of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a measure, the Stylus 1 is the clear winner of the match-up (11 : 6 points). However, the relative importance of the various individual camera aspects will vary according to personal preferences and needs, so that you might like to apply corresponding weights to the particular features before making a decision on a new camera. A professional wildlife photographer will view the differences between cameras in a way that diverges from the perspective of a family photog, and a person interested in architecture has distinct needs from a sports shooter. Hence, the decision which camera is best and worth buying is often a very personal one.

Stylus 1 11:06 MX-1

How about other alternatives? Do the specifications of the Olympus Stylus 1 and the Pentax MX-1 place the cameras among the top in their class? Find out in the latest Best Superzoom Camera and Best Travel-Zoom Camera listings whether the two cameras rank among the cream of the crop.

In any case, while the comparison of technical specifications can provide a useful overview of the capabilities of different cameras, it remains incomplete and does no justice, for example, to the way the Stylus 1 or the MX-1 perform in practice. User reviews that are available, for instance, at amazon can sometimes shed light on these issues, but such feedback is all too often partial, inconsistent, and inaccurate.

Expert reviews

This is where reviews by experts come in. The adjacent summary-table relays the overall verdicts of several of the most popular camera review sites (amateurphotographer [AP], cameralabs [CL], dpreview [DPR], ephotozine [EPZ], photographyblog [PB]). As can be seen, the professional reviewers agree in many cases on the quality of different cameras, but sometimes their assessments diverge, reinforcing the earlier point that a camera decision is often a very personal choice.

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Expert Camera Reviews
     Camera 
 Model 
 AP 
 score 
 CL 
 score 
 DPR 
 score 
 EPZ 
 score 
 PB 
 score 
Camera
Launch
Launch
Price (USD)
Street
Price
1.
 
Olympus Stylus 1..+ +..4.5/54.5/5 Oct 2013 699i
2.
 
Pentax MX-13/5..74/1004/54/5 Jan 2013 499i
3.
 
Canon G1 X Mark II3/5+77/1004/54.5/5 Feb 2014 799i
4.
 
Canon G164/5+..4.5/54.5/5 Aug 2013 549 i
5.
 
Canon G1 X5/5+76/1004/54.5/5 Jan 2012 799i
6.
 
Canon G154/5+76/1004.5/54.5/5 Sep 2012 499i
7.
 
Fujifilm X304/5..76/1004.5/54.5/5 Aug 2014 599 i
8.
 
Fujifilm X204/5+ +77/1004.5/55/5 Jan 2013 599i
9.
 
Nikon P78003/5....4/54.5/5 Sep 2013 549i
10.
 
Olympus Stylus 1s.......... Apr 2015 699 i
11.
 
Olympus XZ-24/5+..4.5/54.5/5 Sep 2012 599i
12.
 
Panasonic LF13/5+..4/54.5/5 Apr 2013 499 i
Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.

The review scores listed above should be treated with care, though. The ratings are only valid when referring to cameras in the same category and of the same age. A score, therefore, has to be seen in close connection to the price and market introduction time of the camera, and rating-comparisons among cameras that span long time periods or concern very differently equipped models make little sense. Also, please note that some of the review sites have changed their methodology and reporting over time.

Olympus Stylus 1:
Check Ebay offers
Pentax MX-1:
Check Ebay offers

Other camera comparisons

Did this review help to inform your camera decision process? In case you are interested in seeing how other cameras pair up, just make your choice using the following search menu. Alternatively, you can follow any of the listed hyperlinks for comparisons that others found interesting.

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    Specifications: Olympus Stylus 1 vs Pentax MX-1

    Below is a side-by-side comparison of the specs of the two cameras to facilitate a quick review of their differences and common features.

    Camera Specifications
    Camera Model Olympus Stylus 1 Pentax MX-1
    Camera Type Fixed lens compact camera Fixed lens compact camera
    Camera Lens 28-300mm f/2.8 28-112mm f/1.8-2.5
    Launch Date October 2013 January 2013
    Launch Price USD 699 USD 499
    Sensor Specs Olympus Stylus 1 Pentax MX-1
    Sensor Technology BSI-CMOS CMOS
    Sensor Format 1/1.7" Sensor 1/1.7" Sensor
    Sensor Size 7.6 x 5.7 mm 7.6 x 5.7 mm
    Sensor Area 43.32 mm2 43.32 mm2
    Sensor Diagonal 9.5 mm 9.5 mm
    Crop Factor 4.5x 4.5x
    Sensor Resolution 11.8 Megapixels 12 Megapixels
    Image Resolution 3968 x 2976 pixels 4000 x 3000 pixels
    Pixel Pitch 1.91 μm 1.89 μm
    Pixel Density 27.26 MP/cm2 27.70 MP/cm2
    Moiré control no AA filter Anti-Alias filter
    Movie Capability 1080/30p Video 1080/30p Video
    ISO Setting 100 - 12,800 ISO 100 - 12,800 ISO
    DXO Sensor Quality (score) 51 49
    DXO Color Depth (bits) 20.7 20.4
    DXO Dynamic Range (EV) 11.6 11.3
    DXO Low Light (ISO) 179 208
    Screen Specs Olympus Stylus 1 Pentax MX-1
    Viewfinder Type Electronic viewfinder no viewfinder
    Viewfinder Field of View 100%
    Viewfinder Magnification 0.58x
    Viewfinder Resolution 1440k dots
    LCD Framing Live View Live View
    Rear LCD Size 3.0inch 3.0inch
    LCD Resolution 1040k dots 920k dots
    LCD Attachment Tilting screen Tilting screen
    Touch Input Touchscreen no Touchscreen
    Shooting Specs Olympus Stylus 1 Pentax MX-1
    Focus System Contrast-detect AF Contrast-detect AF
    Manual Focusing AidFocus Peakingno Peaking Feature
    Continuous Shooting 7 shutter flaps/s 1 shutter flaps/s
    Time-Lapse PhotographyIntervalometer built-inno Intervalometer
    Image StabilizationLens-based stabilizationIn-body stabilization
    Fill Flash Build-in Flash Build-in Flash
    Storage Medium SDXC cards SDXC cards
    Second Storage Option Single card slot Single card slot
    UHS card support no no
    Connectivity Specs Olympus Stylus 1 Pentax MX-1
    External Flash Hotshoe no Hotshoe
    USB Connector USB 2.0 USB 2.0
    HDMI Port micro HDMI mini HDMI
    Wifi Support Wifi built-in no Wifi
    Body Specs Olympus Stylus 1 Pentax MX-1
    Battery Type BLS-5 D-LI106
    Battery Life (CIPA)410 shots per charge290 shots per charge
    Body Dimensions 116 x 87 x 57 mm
    (4.6 x 3.4 x 2.2 in)
    122 x 61 x 51 mm
    (4.8 x 2.4 x 2.0 in)
    Camera Weight 402 g (14.2 oz) 391 g (13.8 oz)

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